Trying a new beer can be scary. I think we can all agree that spending money on the unknown is not in anyone’s comfort zone. When you are shopping for a new beer at the liquor store things get even tougher. Rows upon rows of beautiful, brightly colored cans send your brain into sensory overload and the fear of ‘six pack’ commitment leads many to stick to their tried and true beverage of choice.
While this isn’t the worst thing, many people say the best way to grow is to spend time outside your comfort zone. Today, I want to give you a few tips to keep in your back pocket for the next time you go shopping for a new beer that make expanding your boozy comfort zone just a little bit easier.
Grab a variety pack
If you are open to drinking most styles of beer, this is by far the most economical way to taste something new. Each mix is a little bit different, but most variety packs include a light beer, an IPA, and a seasonal or signature brew.
Get this if you are at least a little curious about everything in the box OR if you know you like the brewery.
DO NOT get this if you KNOW you don’t like one of the beers included. Trying new things should be fun. You should never feel like you need to ‘get through’ part of a box or pawn it off on someone.
Look for the cheat sheet on the side of the can
Most brewers want to help you understand what you are getting into when you by their wares. Beer buying is really a team sport. The better they can describe their product, the clearer your expectations. The clearer your expectations, the more likely you are to purchase something that brings you joy. Joy = repeat purchases and the wheel goes round and round.
Almost every can has a rectangular block with three to four descriptors. These could be foods the beer tastes like (chocolate, strawberries, honey) or adjectives (tart, crisp, crushable). I, personally, find the food descriptors to be more helpful – if I like the ingredients, I’ll probably like the beer.
To get more familiar with the adjectives, you can pick up a beer that you KNOW you like and then shop around for a beer with similar words.
Pick up some singles
No, we aren’t talking about the dating scene. We are living in the golden age of craft beer. Liquor stores have picked up on the fact that we, the aspiring beer pros, want to try it all and they have done their best to make it easier to do so. Most liquor stores now offer a single can section where they will split up six packs and let you create your own variety pack or buy them individually.
My local liquor store has two different singles sections: one for bigger breweries and then one tucked away in the corner with more of a micro brew focus. I normally make a bee-line straight for the sneaky corner fridge. With the commitment of a six pack gone, I find it much easier to test out new styles.
This option tends to be a little more expensive than purchasing a premade variety pack, but the ability to choose your own adventure far outweighs the cost.
Give these tips a try and let me know how shopping for a new beer goes!
What is your normal go-to liquor store purchase? Why does it feel safe?
Have you explored the singles section before? What did you find?